NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Family members of two men killed by Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies during a violent encounter Wednesday night said they want justice.
Chris Joseph, 38, and Daviri Robertson, 39, both of New Orleans were shot around 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot of an IHOP restaurant on the West Bank during an undercover drug bust.
A JPSO deputy was also wounded in the gunfire.
“They did not have to kill him at all, they did not have to shoot him, he was not armed, he did not have no gun or anything,” said Donna Joseph, Chris’ sister. “He was blocked in by several cars, Jefferson Parish officers have a problem with shooting people.”
Sheriff Joe Lopinto said detectives were working a case and had staged a drug buy in the parking lot. He said the suspected drug dealer arrived when deputies tried to block the vehicle.
Lopinto said several deputies got out to arrest the suspects. The driver allegedly threw the car into reverse, striking a deputy.
He said detectives opened fire on the car, killing Joseph and fatally wounding Robertson.
“They had under covers and everything, they had no reason, to shoot my brother and kill him. He did not have a gun. he was not armed at all,” Joseph said.
A deputy was also struck by possible friendly fire, Lopinto said.
Joseph’s girlfriend said, Darrelyn Smith, said the couple has four children. She said she had just gotten home from work and was waiting for Joseph.
“I don't know why he was shot at, why he was chased down, I don't know what happened, but we want justice, we want justice, that's it,” Smith said.
Cheryl Strickland, Robertson’s mother-in-law, said she’s worried about the family that was left behind.
“It’s going to be my grandchildren that are going to have to live without their father and they are so young. My grand baby just asked this morning where his daddy was, and what are we going to tell him at the age of four,” she said.
Joseph's family is also calling for an outside investigation, something which one criminologist says could provide useful information.
“You need an objective after action report to get all the facts in,” Peter Scharf said. Right now the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said it is conducting its own investigation.
Louisiana State Police said they will conduct their own investigation into this shooting only if the JPSO calls them to do so, which has not happened.
Deputies said their investigation is far from over.